This week’s style diary guest is Dominique Serra, the Founder of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, a world’s only women-only automobile competition. She launched the 27th competition in New York recently, at Brasserie Georgette, among a very interesting crowd that included among others Ms. Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund.
Since its creation in 1990, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles has the same vision for its competition: no speed and no GPS, just old fashioned navigation, completely off-road in the beautiful desert of Morocco. As Dominique calls it, a return to the roots of adventure! The only requirement is determination for these women who are of all ages, social backgrounds, nationalities, and levels of off-road experience. The competition is also doing its good deeds through the many philanthropic actions of the Rallye’s non-profit, Cœur de Gazelles. Dominique is a pure example of feminism and strength blending perfectly together.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Dominique Serra: Urban chic: I love being casual and stylish at the same time.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Serra: Philanthropist, dynamic, generous.
Ms. Eschapasse: How has your style evolved since you were a teenager?
Ms. Serra: As a teenager, I was shy and reserved and I had a lack of self-confidence which reflected in my clothes. With time, however, I started to dare to wear colorful outfits and now I like to stand out with the right stylish clothes. To fight shyness you sometimes have to be bold, although it’s frightening at first.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you have ever worn?
Ms. Serra: An amazing yellow jacket with real bird feathers from Karl Lagerfeld, it was a present from Mouna Ayoub.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Serra: On workdays I dress casual. On the weekends, often even more relaxing, in blue jeans and sneakers.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Serra: A beautiful handbag, my powder and my mascara—because I have beautiful blue eyes and the eyes are the window to the soul. Can’t live without my mascara.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences?
Ms. Serra: Most Italian designers, as I believe they are the most avant garde and ahead of their time and everyone else’s ideas.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?
Ms. Serra: Sharon Stone—she is beautiful, clever and powerful and has a natural elegance about her.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Serra: Being elegant is what style means to me.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of? What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Ms. Serra: I am most proud of my Louboutin shoes. I had been dreaming about these shoes for a long time, not able to afford for them. So the day I spent money to buy my first pair of Louboutins, I was very proud. I would pay a lot of money for a watch, because a watch is a piece of jewelry.
I would never pay much money for a wallet, it’s always hidden in your handbag.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? Which designers can achieve that?
Ms. Serra: I want to feel joy and happiness but above all I want to feel sexy! A designer who can achieve that is Mariella Burani.
Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?
Ms. Serra: The most important thing is to feel good in what you are wearing. I never judge someone else’s style—everybody should wear what they like best and feel most comfortable in.
To develop a personal style, people should look to their personality and try to express that. Don’t care so much about what others think, choose a style that is right for you, not one to please others.
Favorite color? Blue
Favorite perfume? A la Nuit- Serge Lutens
Favorite restaurant in NY? Benoit New York by Alain Ducasse
Favorite drink? Mojito
Favorite movie? “The Bridges of Madison County”
Favorite book? “The Baltimore Boys” by Joël Dicker
Favorite quotes? Nothing is acquired, everything is built.
Sibylle’s “Style Diary” is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.
Sibylle Eschapasse is originally from Paris and now lives in New York. She contributes to various publications in addition to be working for the United Nations. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy, A New York Dog Tale.”She may be reached at [email protected]